Punxsutawney Phil predicts six more weeks of winter

Groundhog Club handlers John Griffiths, top right and Ron Ploucha, left, carry Punxsutawney Phil, the weather prognosticating groundhog, down a flight of stairs after attending a function on Groundhog Day eve in Punxsutawney, Pa. Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017. The members of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club's inner circle with make their trek to Gobber's Knob for the 131st time early Thursday morning. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. (AP) – The handlers of Pennsylvania’s most famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, say the furry rodent has “predicted” six more weeks of winter after seeing his shadow.

Members of Punxsutawney Phil’s top hat-wearing inner circle revealed their “forecast” at sunrise Thursday.

The festivities have their origin in a German legend that says if a furry rodent casts a shadow on Feb. 2, winter continues. If not, spring comes early.

In reality, Phil’s prediction is decided ahead of time by the group on Gobbler’s Knob, a tiny hill just outside Punxsutawney. That’s about 65 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.

Records dating to 1887 show Phil has now predicted more winter 103 times while forecasting an early spring just 18 times – including last year. There are no records for the remaining years.